Animal of the Week!

This week’s animal is the Eurasian, or common, Magpie. This bird is found in Europe, much of Asia, and in the northwest region of Africa, as well as the western regions of North America. It’s actually believed to be one of the most intelligent birds, if not one of the most intelligent animals. This bird ranges from 17-18 inches in length, with over half of that length being found in its tail. It’s mostly black and white, with tinges of purple, blue, and green. The magpie is an omnivore, eating anything ranging from young birds and insects to acorns and grain. These birds will only avoid humans when harassed, and in some cultures it’s actually believed that crossing paths with a magpie can predict the future depending on how many are seen.

The Eurasian Magpie is believed to be among the most intelligent of birds, and among the most intelligent of all animals. Magpies have been observed engaging in elaborate social rituals, possibly including the expression of grief. Mirror self-recognition has been demonstrated in European magpies. The magpie is thus one of a small number of species, and the only non-mammal, known to possess this capability. The cognitive abilities of the Eurasian Magpie are taken as evidence that intelligence evolved independently in both corvids/crows and primates. This is indicated by feats such as tool use, their ability to hide and store food across seasons, episodic-like memory, and the ability to use one’s own experience in predicting the behavior of conspecifics.